Saturday, December 18, 2010

Making A List, Boxing Out Twice

Tis the season for making lists, and based on Gannon's performance in their pulsating 70-68 win over Urbana, John Reilly had a list of his own entering Saturday's game:

Don't give up easy shots inside the three-point line. I don't know a lot of things, but I know Bob Dukiet's defense after watching and playing it in practice for three years. He called it "tough and slough" -- tough on the ball and helping in the paint on dribble penetration and post-entry passes. The weakness to that defense is that you can give up three-pointers. But if you have to give up something, you give up the shot that teams usually hit only 30% of the time. The Knights looked vastly improved playing Dukiet's D against Urbana. You might laugh at this, but my favorite defensive play of the game was when Danard Crouch helped out to tip away a UU post-entry pass. That tells the other team "you're not coming in here." Again the Achilles' heel of the defense is giving up threes and Urbana hit 16-of-31 (51%). Despite that stat, Reilly said in the paper Sunday that it was Gannon's best defensive effort of the season. Though I didn't see the road games, I agree that it's the best defense GU's played in their three home games. They didn't give up many layups and they kept Urbana out of the post. That will win you a ton of games.

Win the battle of the boards -- everybody's going to the glass. I saw Reilly's Brescia teams play a few times, and they looked like 6-foot-4 piranhas when the ball hit the rim. The Knights resembled those Brescia teams last night. Outrebounding Urbana 41-29 was impressive, but the stats inside of that are even better. GU had 16 offensive rebounds which allowed them to attempt 9 more field goals than Urbana (63-54). Four different players had 5 or more rebounds: Kelvin Agee 11, Travis Brannen 7, Anthony Clagett 6, and Stephen Battle 5. Combined with the Dukiet defense that I mentioned earlier, that kind of effort on the glass will win you a ton of games.

Get the ball inside every chance you get. When Steve Piotrowicz brings the ball up the floor he usually looks like he's crossing the street, scanning the court from one sideline to the other. Last night on a few occasions he put his head down and charged toward the basket like a team of reindeer after a giant carrot. In their first several games, the Knights settled for outside shots without even considering getting a shot in the paint. The emphasis Saturday was drive by your guy or try to throw the ball into Brannen before looking for a three.

Gannon's 40-2 points in the paint advantage was not a coincidence. If the Knights can keep teams on the perimeter, own the boards, and get shots in the lane consistently, they'll -- say it with me -- win a ton of games.

Related notes:
* The officials made the right non-call on the final shot of the game. If the contact on the shot is created by the shooter, it's not a foul. Imagine if that wasn't the rule. Basketball would be nothing but players attempting a shot fake, throwing up slop in the general vicinity of the basket, and then going to the free throw line.

* I made the comment earlier about how the lone weakness of Dukiet's defense is giving up three-pointers. Imagine how effective that defensive scheme was before the advent of the three-point line? Click here and scroll to page 6 to see the scores when Duke was the head coach at St. Peter's (NJ) College in the early 80s. My favorite is beating Duquesne in the second round of the NIT, 34-33.


  1. Nice first half so far. Someone could stand to turn up the A/C at the Hammermill. It's really hot in here. Perhaps they are trying to help beverage sales. It's working.

  2. That was a close one but we won and the game was very entertaining.


    - Offense doesn't run very well w/o Steve at the point.

    - Battle and Agee are very impressive and just freshmen.

    - Travis stayed out of foul trouble and had a nice game. Shows what he offers if not in foul trouble.

    - Good no call on the last "I'll jump into you and hope for a foul" shot.

    - UU 16 threes! Two pts in the paint!

    - Gu two threes and 40 points in the paint! Crazy.

    - Furno not starting/ playing 12 minutes ... coach stated he got hurt in practice and want to use him sparingly.

    I like what I'm seeing especially with all the new players. Just going to get better!


  3. Interesting game ... UU's 16 threes were insane. Seven different players made at least one three.

    If I was a UU fan, I'd be incensed that coach Porter didn't call a time out to set up a final possession. I agree that the no-call was good at the end. You won't get that call at home, let alone on the road.

    Why didn't Kareem Brown play much?

    What's the status of Steve P's injury? I didn't hear the coach's show, if Riles said anything.

    And it was stinkin' HOT in the Hammermill Center. Please turn on a fan.

  4. Well GU got an early Christmas gift from the refs. That really should have been a foul on that last shot of the game. Yes, the guy leaned in but from my angle (and from the opinion of a fellow spectator who sat about 10 feet away), the UU guy was hit on the arm on that shot. I dont believe that the rule book says that if you are trying to draw the foul and do get fouled, that your effort wipes out the foul.
    That UU guy was such a strong shooter, hitting deep threes all night. For his shot to come up as short as it did takes a foul on GU's part.
    GU was lucky to even be in that position, because when the ball went out of bounds under the south basket with .24 seconds to play, it really looked like it was off of Battle's hands. GU was lucky to get it back.
    Glad that the game didn't go to overtime because I dont think we could have all survived more of the oppressive heat in there tonight. You mean to tell me that noone could have opened some windows or doors to let in some air?

  5. The hit in that building was awful most of the night, and during the guys game, we were getting killed on the 3 by Urbana, well at least a win is a win, so winning both games was a nice early christmas present.

  6. Agreed about the last call. You're not going to jump into a guy to draw contact on a last-second three-pointer. And you have to be realistic on what the officials are going to call in that situation. I remember years ago, okay, almost decades ago, when Juan Rankin tried to pull the same stunt at Clarion and the same thing happened ... you know that you're never going to get that call, so why even bother trying? Run a play to get a good shot off, get the ball on the rim and see what happens.

    I'm still mildly stunned that UU (can we call it U-squared?) didn't use its final time out to set something up. They looked clueless even dribbling the ball up the court.

    If we don't have any more posts before the holiday, then Merry Christmas to Jim and to all the GU hoops blog posters.

  7. I just wanted to wish all GU Hoops bloggers, followers, supporters, fans, boosters, players, coaches (and so on and so forth haha) a very safe and wonderful holiday season!

    Hoping the next time I post, I'll be ringing in the New Year with a Gannon Porreco Cup Championship. (What?! It's Christmas time! haha)

    Best wishes all!